Thursday, October 28, 2010

Beer & Cookies?

Watch out Milk – There’s a new player in town! That’s right. Beer is making its move to replace the “milk” in “Milk & Cookies”. I was skeptical at first – and I’m still not 100% sold on the concept – but pairing Beer and Cookies was definitely intriguing.

What sparked the idea of pairing beer and cookies? A strong declaration made by a friend, who swore that any beer plus chocolate chip cookies equalled a great pairing. I looked at him cross-eyed, but realized I couldn’t knock it ‘til I tried it. So I bought a selection of beers at Whole Foods and an assortment of cookies from a local bakery and rounded up a few friends to help me test out this new “beer and cookies” theory. And, of course, I made my poor friends rank each beer and cookie combo on a scale of 1 through 10 so that I could more precisely measure our findings.

Before you look at the results, please keep the following in mind:
1. Unlike wine and food pairings, the results of each beer and cookie pairing sometimes varied significantly, person to person, because some combinations played out differently on each of our palettes.
2. The graph is an average of the results of 5 different people. Based on #1, there isn’t a huge sway between what pairing was most loved and what wasn’t. I’ll be testing this on a larger audience the next time. 3. The results of this graph should only reflect these specific combinations. There could very well be other beers that could pair well with the selected cookies and vice versa.
4. Most importantly, none of us had ever had beer to wash down our cookies.

And the results are as follows (drum-roll please)…

As the averages show, most beer and cookie pairings didn’t exactly knock our socks off. However, Indian Wells’ Spicy Pumpkin and Pipeline’s Porter were definitely the best matched to our selection of cookies. And we all agreed that pairing Bison’s Gingerbread Ale with ginger snap cookies made our taste buds happy.

In the end, this eccentric taste test did make me a believer in the beer/cookie theory. However, I’m not sure if beer will ever replace milk in my heart. But, for those of you that do love the “beer and cookie” coupling, please help me to see the light: let me know which cookies and beers you think should be paired together. I’m flying blind.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Irish Hot Chocolate

The Irish Hot Chocolate is my absolute favorite drink on cold, rainy or snowy days. This hot chocolate cocktail isn't too sweet and it'll warm you up in a heartbeat!

Ingredients for the Irish Hot Chocolate:

-    Milk (I prefer non-fat or skim)
-    Unsweetened Cocoa Powder: 1 Tbs. per 8oz.
-    Bailey’s Irish Cream
-    Optional: 1/2 a shot of dark rum to give it an extra kick

In a small pot, heat the milk slowly on the stove (medium low), stirring frequently. Do not bring to a boil or even a simmer. As soon as you see steam, turn the stove off. Slowly sift cocoa powder into the milk, stirring regularly (to prevent clumping). Once all of the cocoa powder has been added and has been thoroughly mixed in with the milk, return the pot to the heat and stir regularly until very hot. Turn the stove off (do not remove the pot from the stove) and add the Bailey’s Irish Cream.

Pour the mixture into your favorite mug, sprinkle a little cocoa powder on top and enjoy!